Senior wing Ismael "Ish" Sanogo and No. 4 Newark East Side (N.J.) played their first game of the season against Blair Academy on December 21st at the Hoop Group Tip-Off Showcase. It was the season opener for East Side and Sanogo, a 2014 LOI signee and first member of Seton Hall's top-10 ranked recruiting class. The game, which was won 46-43 by East Side, was re-aired on FiOS Channel 1 recently. Note: all observations are based off of one game.
Playing the 'four' for East Side, Sanogo (#3 in white) was held in check for the first half and beginning of the third quarter due to picking up two early fouls. Ish had a few chances from mid and short range that missed off of the glass in the first quarter. After being held scoreless, Sanogo created offense from defense by blocking former Seton Hall target and current Marquette commit Marial Shayok's shot and then scoring in transition.
Ish's block was just one of several deflections and steals that he was credited with on the day. The transition basket sparked another three field goals from Sanogo late in the game. His most impressive basket came from beating a defender off the dribble from the 3-point line and then dunking in traffic. The following clip also shows a Sanogo deflection that comes after his flush.
Ish finished with 8 points, 10 rebounds, and several steals/blocks/deflections on defense that weren't officially recorded. After missing several close range shots in the game, Sanogo easily could have posted a scoring total in the mid-teens.
Seton Hall's commit showed a lot more ability in the second half after succumbing to foul trouble in the first quarter of his season against a talented Blair team (center Brett Jolly (Saint Louis), forward Elijah Burns (2015, undecided), and Marial Shayok (Marquette) headline Blair's roster.) Sanogo frequently crashed the offensive glass, especially on the weak side, picking up a few boards in the process. While he was not the main focus of East Side's half court sets, Sanogo excels around the paint area. His quick hands and strong frame make the transition from ball on the court/in his hands to being shot fast and tough to defend without fouling. While Ish has a stronger build than Fuquan Edwin when he played at Paterson Catholic, this is a similarity between the two during broken play situations on offense and while in transition.
On the defensive end, Sanogo adopts the philosophy of East Side: active hands, high pressure defense, the Newark school appears to be one of the best in the state in this area. Some of these qualities are on display in the above video clips. Overall, Ismael appears to excel more-so in transition and broken plays than a conventional slowed down half court offense due to his athleticism and explosive nature.
In their next game, No. 4 Newark East Side (4-0) plays at No. 13 Columbia (3-1) Saturday at 1 p.m. Ismael Sanogo is averaging 10.5 ppg, 9 rpg, and at least 1 spg + 1 bpg so far this season.